wear their Ramones
worship on their sleeves, yet their third kids' music album, Extractum Victoris
, is probably the least Ramones-influenced of their three releases. That's not to say that The Boogers have given up on their crunching, punk rock
approach to music for the whole family: the band produce some of the most joyously pounding, double-time drum beat, fist-pumping rockers of their career on Extractum Victoris
, one of the best kids' music albums of 2013.
Paul Crowe, punk rocker and holder of a PhD in Developmental Psychology, is the creative force behind The Boogers. Crowe combined his love of The Ramones and his background in child development in forming The Boogers, who have released three albums of music for families, 2008’s NAPPA Gold Award winner Road to Rock; late 2010’s Let’s Go!, included on our list of Best Kids' Music of 2011, and 2012's Extractum Victoris.
Crowe’s link to The Ramones is not limited to his love of that band's music: the cover and liner art of Let's Go! was created by John Holstrom, one of the co-founders of PUNK magazine in 1975. Holstrom’s artwork also graced several Ramones albums in their heyday, including the back cover of the Rocket to Russia album and the cover of the Road to Ruin LP. Crowe’s connection to The Ramones continues with the liner notes for Let’s Go!, written by Monte Melnick. Melnick was The Ramones’ tour manager for the band’s entire career, from 1974 to 1996, and he offered his thoughts about The Boogers’ efforts in following up the spirit of The Ramones with their albums for families.
The artwork for Extractum Victoris was created by Shawn Dickinson, a Southern California-based illustrator who has produced all sorts of vintage cartoon images for comic books, t-shirts, stickers, posters, album covers, you name it. Explore his Ed "Big Daddy" Roth-inspired artwork by visiting the official Shawn Dickinson website!
The Music of 'Extractum Victoris'
kicks off with a roar, as The Boogers declare that "It's a Sunny Day," and we should all go out and enjoy life. Then the crunching "Gimme Some Pancakes" demands everyone's favorite breakfast food
via slashing guitar chords and handclaps. The rockin' get even more intense as a kid declares, "I Just Wanna Play," and double-time drums pound in the background. The old summer camp favorite "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" gets a speedy, cheerful reading, then crawls to a sludgy half-beat tempo a la The Melvins
. "Boogers on the Wall" is a good example of how The Boogers are slowly branching out from their Ramones template, as this tune sounds more like the "van rock" of The Quadrajets
than punk. Another example is the title tune "Extractum Victoris," a pounding rocker that's highlighted by a slide guitar
More Music from 'Extractum Victoris'
Next is another cover tune, a loud and rowdy version of Woody Guthrie's classic "This Land is Your Land," recently performed much more quietly by Elizabeth Mitchell on her album Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie
. The super speedy, ultra punky anti-ode to "everyone's a winner," "The Self-Esteem Movement Let Me Down," roars through its message in less than a minute and a half, while "Psychobaby," a crunching description of an out of control toddler, may the most Ramones-sounding tune on Extractum Victoris
. The Boogers then cover the mid-'60s garage rock classic "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and first recorded by Paul Revere & the Raiders
. The song appeared on The Raiders' album Midnight Ride
, released in May 1966, but he tune is best known as a Number 20 hit for The Monkees
, released in November 1966 as the B-side of their single "I'm a Believer." The album ends with "Pandas are Dangerous," a four-to-the-floor rocker that echoes a familiar parental sentiment: our kids are cuties, but watch out for 'em!
Fans of The Boogers will not be disappointed with Extractum Victoris, and will, I think, welcome the slightly heavier exploration of punk rock and its musical relatives. Great band, great tunes, one of the best kids' music albums of 2013.
Released December 4, 2012; Spire Records
- "It's a Sunny Day"
- "Gimme Some Pancakes"
- "I Just Wanna Play"
- "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt"
- "Boogers on the Wall"
- "Extractum Victoris"
- "This Land is Your Land"
- "The Self-Esteem Movement Let Me Down"
- "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"
- "Pandas are Dangerous"